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Harriet Bradley UWE & UoB & Richard WallerUWE Social Class, Resilience and Adapting to Student Life 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Harriet Bradley UWE & UoB & Richard WallerUWE Social Class, Resilience and Adapting to Student Life 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Harriet Bradley UWE & UoB & Richard WallerUWE Social Class, Resilience and Adapting to Student Life 1

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4 Overview of Paired Peers study Aim to compare experiences of students from different backgrounds at UoB and UWE Paired across universities and by subject and social class Following for 3 years from Sept 2010 Investigating factors affecting success, including economic, cultural & social capitals 4

5 The participant sample Pairing structure: pairs matched by class, campus, subject, e.g. 8 Law students – 4 from each uni, 2 w/c and 2 m/c at each Target 80 participants but over-recruited to cover attrition Only from subjects taught at both universities Subjects: biology, drama, econ & accountancy, engineering, english, geography, history, law, politics, psychology, sociology Recruited from 1st week induction sessions Demographic details on all students collected 5

6 Defining Class Awareness of complexity, change, hybridity Multi-factoral approach –Parents’ jobs, parents’ ed. level, school type, post-code, bursary, self-definition Participants classified into 3 groups: m/c, intermediate, w/c The 90 selected were those at the ends of the spectrum as most clearly w/c or m/c 6

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8 ‘Typical’ students graduating... 8

9 Theoretical Context Tendency of capital theorising to portray w/c experience in terms of ‘lack’ or ‘alterity’ to dominant m/c Eg –Skeggs: w/c dis-identification –w/c lack of distinctive voice –Bennett & Savage : omnivorous m/c, end of distinctive w/c culture –Puttnam ‘bonding’ rather than ‘bridging’ capital 9

10 Policy context W/c assumed to be less able to cope with university experience than m/c Remedial approach on study skills etc Eg budgeting: It is easy for students with no family experience of university, who were not taught financial management at school to get into serious trouble. (Tessa Stone, Brightside Trust 2012), 10

11 Restoring the balance M/c do bring more capitals into uni Are empowered to mobilise them more effectively HOWEVER there are positives that w/c students can bring from their own experience This presentation posits the idea of ‘experiential capital’ 11

12 Physical capital Atkinson & Sayles: developing notion of physical capital as w/c asset – w/c kids developing ‘hardness’ in the playground Many studies indicate how young w/c women work on their embodied sexuality to obtain work - in the glamour industry For Atkinson and Sayles, physical capital tends to be tied to specific (w/c) social locations However, experiential capital can be transposed into another field 12

13 1. Motivations Experience of hardship can motivate w/c students to succeed They are more aware of the realities of life ‘Middle-class people are more likely to follow a route from school to university because they need more education to achieve the goal of maintaining their class position. One implication of this model is that children from working class backgrounds have to be more ambitious than middle class children in order to achieve upward social mobility through higher education ’ (Kidd 2012) 13

14 Working class hopes of HE (1) Well none of my mum or dad have gone to university and through my life I’ve sort of seen the impacts of that, like financially throughout my whole life my mum’s never had any money, and neither has my dad really....my whole life has just seen them struggling through debts and I just thought “well I can’t be bothered to handle that”, I’m going to work like hard and get a job hopefully that will earn me loads of money, which is why I want to be a barrister. (m UWE w/c) 14

15 Necessity to Work My parents took out their own loans just to be able to give me like set-up costs to come here, like deposits for things, like internet, all these hidden costs, hundreds and hundreds of pounds, on top of their deficit between my university accommodation and my loan, which is about a grand. My loan doesn’t even cover the accommodation, so …I need the income to be able to live. (Zoe, UoB) 15

16 Working class hopes of HE (2) I wanted to get a higher level of qualification as well as meet new people, do something, not just go straight out into work and stay in the same ‘northern bubble’ that I was in, but to remove myself and like go to a completely different environment. (f UoB w/c ) 16

17 Coming up the hard way Our class was like kind of the bad class in the year..we had like a higher number of people which were like really rowdy and stuff. So yeah like throughout the school I didn’t really enjoy it that much until like Year 10. from like Year 7 to 9 it was you stay in your forms and you do like maths, english and everything together, then when you get to Year 10 and 11 they put you into sets to do with like how well you’ve performed people from my form got expelled and then like 2 got moved out. We had 3 different form tutors because like in Year 7 the guy who was our form teacher was like “no I can’t have them for another year” and then in Year 8 a new guy joined for a year and then he had us, but then he left (m UWE w/c) Everybody was..not bothered, they didn’t care you know about their lives. You would see people on the streets just looking depressed. Some people would smoke weed and just get up to all sorts of bad things and.....you know, a lot of crime. But thank God for my faith that I didn’t get involved in any of that (f UWE w/c) 17

18 Learning from experience Prospects aren’t that great…if you don’t have a degree, in retail, because a few of my friends at Sainsbury’s I know are trying to work their way … one of my friends, he’s been there five years and he’s only just become a team leader, the next step, and… yeah, it’s not worth the effort you put in I don’t think. The rewards you get back from that career structure isn’t brilliant. Whereas conversely, my old store manager, he had an economics degree, he was 29 and he’s been promoted again; now he’s left, he’s become personal assistant to the regional manager I think he’s on really good money (m UoB w/c) 18

19 2 Location It’s such a statistically a good university, you know it’s a Russell Group university.. it’s traditionally seen by employers as a reputable and a very good university and that, with the added bonus of cost, obviously it’s a lot cheaper not to move away, I don’t have to worry about accommodation fees (m UoB w/c) 19

20 Class and Fit There are institutional differences: –w/c students fit in more easily at UWE No reports of the state/private divide Some m/c students feel misfits at UWE Their self-esteem seems shaken by being at an ‘ex- poly’ Students are aware of the HEI ‘pecking order’ –It remains to be seen if choosing UoB pays off 20

21 3 Self-reliance kind of pretending you’re in the real world but you’re not actually because you’ve still got your parents who are still going to support you. Next year will be different, I think because next year it will actually count, live in a house, it will feel more real-life-ish. But at the moment I think I’m still very much in a bubble pretending I’m in the real world (f UoB m/c) So it’s really self directed learning, it’s just self reliant, you know, they just treat us like adults, do everything by yourself - which is good, which is really good. It makes you stronger as well, it makes you know yourself and the type of person you are (f UWE w/c) 21

22 Managing your money I think you can easily manage if you’re careful... it’s all about learning how to get by on a certain amount of money. Actually, I think if you’re in that middle bracket, where your parents earn, like they’ve got a good job but then they’ve also got quite a big mortgage or whatever and they’ve got a lot of kids, they can’t really give their children that much money to live on. So I think people are caught in this like middle trap where they’ve got less money than I have...they’re struggling a lot more than I am. Because I’m finding it fine. I don’t live a life of luxury but it’s enough. f w/c UoB 22

23 W/c prudence My friend would just be like, oh are you coming out tonight, and I’d be like, no I don’t have anything in my bank account, I can’t. And he’d be like what do you mean, it’s just going to be £20, come on. And I was like, no. I have maybe £2 in my entire account. And he, like, don’t be ridiculous, just come out. And like they just don’t understand... it just doesn’t register that I could possibly not have any money in my account (Megan UoB) 23

24 m/c imprudence I just haven’t been budgeting properly.. I’m a bit tight for money right now.. I just haven’t been spending my money responsibly this term, I think it’s because I just don’t say no to things. Like someone’s like, do you want to go out? Yeah. Ok, don’t know how much money I’ve got but yeah I’ll go out, see what happens. Do you want to go for a meal? Yeah. But yeah it’s sort of taught me a lesson for next term. Next term, I’m going to be so strict on myself. (Carly UoB) My accommodation is so much that it’s not even covered by my student loan, so when my loan comes in the next day it’s all gone plus a bit more.. so then my parents put £200 a month into my account which should be enough for me to live on, but generally it’s not because I just go out a bit too many times, or buy too much food when I‘m out. And I’ve just been gradually going down into my overdraft. (Grace UoB) 24

25 Family back up? It’s £320 a month each rent - that obviously doesn’t cover utilities.. I’ve got to be getting another job, because if I quit the supermarket then I don’t have any income coming in, then the student loan and grant is going to dry up pretty fast. I mean we’ve costed it all and budgeted it.. but then you can’t plan for emergencies, but if everything stays as it is, it should be OK...if I go into dire straits my dad might be able to help me. I know my mum won’t be able to, she wouldn’t even be guarantor on my rent because she struggles to pay her rent, let alone. I’m not entirely sure my dad could afford it but I put him as my guarantor because his circumstances are slightly financially better than my mum’s. (Gary UoB) 25

26 The streetwise shopper I’m really stingy with my spending and a complete bargain hunter..I’ll go straight to the bargain aisle and the reduced section because I get some amazing bargains. I’ve got like a special time which I go.. Yeah, I’ll go to the Tesco Express at about 7 o clock when they’ve reduced everything and I can get a loaf for 4p. And I got like some finest ham slices for about 6p.. I do tend to buy bulk stuff too. Yeah I go to Poundsaver and stuff, I’m really good with my money.... Fruitwise I only tend to have like apples and bananas and oranges because they're cheap and so I'll get the basic ones... What they do is in Sainsburys, sometimes they have like too many like of the Gala ones or the Braeburns, what they'll do is they'll just stick on a basics sticker and so it will be exactly the same but you're literally paying like a fraction of the price... You can get 10 apples for like £1 and they'll be like the really nice Gala ones. (f w/c UoB ) 26

27 4 Resilience W/c students are more familiar with ‘hard knocks and thus can adjust to failures and restrict horizons M/c students feel entitled to succeed and so have further to fall; some may find it hard to readjust Two stories to conclude show this 27

28 Anna’s story: Economics/Politics, UoB Parents divorced Father electrician, mother currently waitress, formerly accounts Went to poor-performing state school 2 As, 2 A*s ‘All the way to GCSEs I didn’t really work that much, like when I was 15 or 16 I started going out and getting drunk and stuff.....I know that sounds really silly but I didn’t work that much and I still found it quite easy to do well. And then it got to A levels and then I kind of felt like “oh I actually do need to work now”’. 28

29 ‘Experiential capital’? ‘I feel quite a lot older than everybody else here. Like sometimes you see people, you meet people that have their parents like.....you know, they’ve never cooked a meal for themselves...it’s a bit like sixth form’ ‘I do feel like I’m glad that I went to a state school coming here because here there’s so many people from private schools. And I meet people from Eton and all of these like....like schools that you’ve only heard of on television or something....I hear about what they’ve done and like how much they’re given at school, and it’s great that they’re given that opportunity but it’s almost like they didn’t have to work for it. The people who do succeed at state schools they have kind of an extra bit of...I think they’ve worked a bit harder to get where they are ‘ 29

30 Making capital? Bristol ‘the best university’ she applied to. Wanted to understand economics in order to get a good job to help the disadvantaged But has found Economics hard, lowered expectations from 1 st to 2.1 ‘It’s the same tutor for both my Maths - he wasn’t very helpful….and it was all men in my tutorial except for me, I was the only girl, and it was always really intimidating and I didn’t enjoy going to those tutorials - well I still don’t, I don’t like going.’ Devastated as failed to get into ‘Teach First’ Readjusting her expectations to do a PGCE: bouncing back 30

31 Emma’s story: English, UWE Rich, ‘privileged’, friends have tennis courts and swimming pool Went to high-performing grammar school; two As and a B (seen as ‘sad’) Parents in business management ‘If there was a ball we could go and pay £40 for a ticket, & a lot of my friends here will say, actually I can’t go to the cinema this week because I’ve spent the £20 for the week that I’ve got’ 31

32 Culture Shock ‘We walked into the kitchen and the two other girls were sat in the kitchen, they’d got there the day before. And they were rolling up cigarettes and....complete cliché....which made me look really sort of ridiculous and stereotypical was, I turned to my mum as we walked out and went “mum, are they doing drugs”. Showed my absolute naivety of everything, I’d never been exposed to anything like that. My mum went “no, no, they’re rolling up cigarettes” & I was like “oh”. ‘I cook stuff, so I’ve always known how but I’ve never really had to put that into practice and do it for myself. Cooking for one is difficult - I found that out - cooking for one person is a bit of a challenge.’ ‘ 32

33 Emma nearly dropped out in Year 2 and now commutes to her studies from her family home some 75 miles away ‘I was in Bristol and sort of surrounded by things that were quite frightening, and you live with people you’ve never met… people don’t do washing up, people want you to take the bin out, you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that, you’ve got to clean out your shower and stuff and….there’s loads of people make a noise like late at night and they’re all running around.. the more all that sort of took over me, the more I realised how much nicer it is just to go home and sleep in your nice little bed.’ 33 Retreat home

34 Conclusions W/C and M/C young people have different hopes for, or expectations of, HE M/C students have more capitals to help them into university and to settle in However, W/C students’ struggles to get there and survive once there build resilience useful in helping them succeed Such assets could be seen as ‘experiential capital’ – promoting streetwise capability to adapt and profit in new situations 34

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